Increase in GP referrals for Covid tests over last week and a rise in case numbers is expected

Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Leitrim Observer Reporter

Increase in GP referrals for Covid tests over last week and a rise in case numbers is expected

Increase in number of Covid cases expected

There has been a 65% increase in General Practitioner (GP) referrals for Covid-19 tests over the course of the last week, according to the Covid-19 Lead for the Irish College of General Practitioners, Dr Nuala O'Connor.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Dr O'Connor said GPs would have referred approximately 25,000 people in the first week of December - a referral figure which increased to 70,000 in the fourth week.

A rise in case numbers is expected. She said inter-generational mixing took place and that some peoples' contact numbers increased to 15 over the Christmas Eve and Christmas day. 

She said that they are receiving a lot of tests from people who say they are close contacts. However, the virus will not show if tested too soon and efforts are being made to schedule peoples' tests on or after day 5. 

She said we "have an opportunity now" to affect the trajectory of the third wave and that peoples' behaviour will have a significant impact."

The Chair of the British Medical Association in Northern Ireland, Derry-based GP, Dr Tom Black said numbers in Northern Ireland have been "consistently high" since before Christmas, and yesterday's high figure was not unexpected.

Speaking on the programme, he said, it's been made "very clear" that the public are expected to stay at home during the current six-week lockdown, he said, and they "really need" people to adhere to the rules.

The HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid has appealed to people to take calls from contact tracers. He tweeted his concerns in relation to contact tracing earlier this week.